During the Sunday derby clash, Gary Neville expressed his belief that Manchester City’s penalty was a stroke of luck, describing the decision as “soft,” despite referee Mike Dean asserting that it was “100 percent correct.”
City took a 1-0 lead from the spot during the first half after Manchester United’s Rasmus Hojlund was penalized. The incident occurred when Hojlund, who was signed from Italian side Atalanta for £72 million during the summer, was adjudged to have brought down City’s Rodri after a VAR check by referee Paul Tierney. Tierney initially missed the incident in real-time and was directed to the pitch-side monitor.
United vehemently protested the decision before Erling Haaland calmly scored, making it 10 goals in 10 Premier League games, while sending Andre Onana the wrong way in front of the Stretford End.
Neville stated, “I’ve watched it three or four times. In slow motion, it looks like a no-brainer, it’s a penalty. I think in real time, he definitely goes around him, then lets him go, as most players would.”
“Personally, I think it’s a little soft, but Hojlund won’t get away with it. He has lost his man, wrapped his arm around him, and he’ll pay for it. When you stop him in slow motion with an arm around him like that, it’s absolutely a penalty. But I think that happens a lot on set pieces, and Rodri knows what he’s doing. It’s clever on his part.”
Former Premier League referee Dean chimed in, saying, “It’s a clear holding offense. He’s stopping Rodri from reaching it right in the dropping zone. He didn’t have to do it, to be honest. In my opinion, it’s the correct decision, 100 percent.”
Jamie Carragher concurred with Neville’s view and characterized the call as “harsh.” Carragher added at halftime, “I’m not saying it’s not a foul, but this happens constantly, in virtually every game you see, and you don’t see penalties given for it.”
“I feel a bit for Manchester United because every team could show an incident like this that they feel like they should have had a penalty. (Hojlund) lost him, he panicked, and the left arm came out, and like everything, it looks worse in slow motion.”